Mirch ka Salan is a famous Hyderabadi dish. The dish is said to have originated in the kitchens of the Nizams. I would believe that, as the dish uses tamarind as souring agent, a practise mostly used in South India. Also peanuts (local produce) and sesame are used instead of other nuts and dry fruits(more prevalent in Awadhi cuisine). Whatever be its origin, Mirch ka Salan always elevates the meal from a common to an exotic one. It finds a definite place in wedding feasts and other important festive meals.
At our home, Mirch ka Salan is a holiday favourite. The star of a luxurious, happy meal. The main dish when important guests come over. Almost always, Mirch ka Salan is paired with the most fragrant Mishti Pulao, a sweet, fragrant Bengali dish, also a festive treat. One Hyderbadi, one Bengali..but the pairing is made in heaven. A happy marriage which we relish down to the last morsel. The tango of the sweet and aromatic Mishti Pulao with the tart, hot, spicy Salan has to be experienced to be understood.
I was introduced to this very fragrant Mishti Pulao by my dear friend Deepasri Deb. I have followed her recipe to the T. It never fails to make the most perfect, heavenly, fit-for-Gods Mishti Pulao. Check out her treasure trove of recipes at www.hamareerasoi.com
Here are the recipes for both the dishes.
MIRCH KA SALAN
I have adapted Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe for this. Changes to his recipe include chopping of the fat Bhavnagari Chilli into inch long batons, deseeding them, and not using any extra chillies in the recipe. This helps to scale down the heat in the Mirch ka Salan. I have also made a few changes in the preparation method. Here is how I made Mirchi ka Salan.
- Contains peanuts. NOT SUITABLE for people with nut allergy.
- Does NOT contain gluten, lactose, corn, soya, egg. Suitable for people with gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance.
Preparation Time – 15-20 minutes, Cooking Time – 30 minutes, Serves – 4 as main course or 6 as side dish if used with other accompaniments in the meal.
COOKWARE – Sharp knife, cutting board, 3-4 litre wok, long flat ladle, small bowl, Mixer-grinder
- 250 gms or 15-18 fat Bhavnagari chillies (bajji mirchi)
- A small lemon sized ball of Tamarind
- 1/4 heaped cup raw peanuts with skin
- 1/4 level cup white sesame seeds
- 1/4 level cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- A thumb size knob of fresh ginger root
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup finely chopped red onion)
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- a few curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- a pinch turmeric powder (add upto 1 teaspoon if you want a yellow coloured Salan)
- 1 heaped teaspoon salt
- Wash and wipe down the fat chillies. Remove the stem, cut into inch long thick batons, and scrape out the seeds from within.
- Soak tamarind in half cup warm water. Squeeze out tamarind juice from it. Repeat with some more warm water. Set tamarind extract aside.
- Heat the wok over medium flame. Dry roast the peanuts first. As they begin to brown, tip in sesame. Roast until the sesame begins to crackle. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and roast until aromatic. Do not burn. Keep stirring. Remove to mixer grinder jar.
- Return wok to heat, add a drizzle of oil. Fry the ginger and garlic for a minute. Remove this to mixer jar too.
- Add the fresh grated coconut to the mixer jar, add some water and grind to smooth paste. Set aside.
- Add the rest of the oil to the wok, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves. When this crackles, add the finely chopped onions and keep stirring over medium flame. When onions turn pink and shiny, add the chopped chilli batons. Saute over high heat for 5 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid charring.
- Pour tamarind juice into the wok, add salt, turmeric, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium flame, until the chilli just softens.
- Pour in the ground mixture, add half a cup of water, and simmer covered for another 15 minutes.
- Switch off flame. Rest for half an hour for flavours to develop. Serve warm or hot with fragrant, sweet, Mishti Pulao.
- Contains Cashew nut. People with nut allergy can avoid adding cashew nuts to the recipe.
- Does NOT contain gluten, corn, soya, egg, or lactose. Suitable for people with gluten or lactose intolerance.
Preparation time – 15 minutes, Cooking Time – 30-35 minutes, Serves – 4 as main course
COOKWARE – 3-4 litre wok with fitting lid, ladle, colander
- 1 heaped cup Gobindobhog rice, or Jeera rice, or Basmati rice
- 1/4 cup fresh/frozen green peas
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a fistful each of broken cashews and raisins
- 1’' piece of cinnamon bark broken into two
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 cloves
- 2 green cardamom
- 2 black cardamom
- 1 mace flower
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups drinking water
- Rinse the rice well under running water. Set to drain in colander. Rub in the turmeric powder into the rice and spread the rice in the colander to drain well.
- Heat ghee in the wok, add cashews and raisins. Fry over medium flame until golden brown and raisins plump up.
- Add spices – cinnamon, bay leaves, mace, peppercorns, cloves, green and black cardamom.
- When the spices release aroma (about a minute or two over medium flame) add the rice and sugar. Stir well continuously over medium heat. Add the green peas midway and continue stirring until rice gets a sheen from the ghee. (About 7-10minutes)
- Add salt, 2 cups water. Increase flame to highest and bring water to boil.
- After water has come to a boil, set wok on your smallest burner, turn down heat to minimum, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. Switch off flame.
- Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Then, open wok, fluff up rice.
- Serve along with tangy, spicy Mirch ka Salan.